Winter is rough on vehicle paint and once the salt and dirt is cleaned away the need for auto paint repair is often obvious. But Madison WI winters are not the only hard times for your ride. The baking sun with its damaging UV rays can be just as damaging. A trip to a professional auto body shop is the answer for both protection and cure.
Corrosive elements meant to melt ice and make driving safer are not friendly to a vehicle’s finish. And winter road conditions regularly lead to dings, dents and major collision-related damage. Anything from a scratch to rust and a sizeable dent require auto paint repair to restore the vehicle to prime condition.
Summer Sun Leads to Auto Paint Repair
Even with today’s high-tech paint and clear coat finishes, repeated exposure to sunlight will result in fading. In older cars and trucks it’s even a bigger concern. Faded paint detracts not only from the looks of a car or truck it significantly reduces its monetary value.
The dangers of UV rays have been emphasized for years in attempts to prevent skin cancer. People wear sunblock, floppy hats and UV-blocking sunglasses. Your car doesn’t have the same protection. Unless it’s kept garaged or covered during daylight hours, paint will fade and oxidize with a combination of direct exposure to sunlight, rain, snow, ice, hail and wind. Air pollutants impact the surface of your ride just as chemicals from the roadway do.
Chemical agents working to damage your car’s paint include pollutants you can’t see but the solid particles build up on a vehicle’s surface over time. Bird droppings and insect residue all contribute to breaking down a vehicle’s finish.
You may, unwittingly be contributing, too. Abrasive cleaners can work their way into the clear coat. Using household detergents to wash the car actually wash away the its natural protective surface. Using the wrong cleaner threatens the integrity of the finish and do more harm than good.
The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” fits the need to prevent damage and fend off the need for auto paint repair. Keeping auto paint looking like new begins with:
- A consistent washing schedule – don’t wait hoping rain will wash dirt off. The car’s topcoat is its version of sunscreen so keeping it clean and consistent is vital. A regular schedule of a good wash every two weeks is a good start – more often if you’re driving on gravel roads, through construction areas or wherever there’s debris in the air (pollen and chemical pollutants count as debris, too). When you select the cleaning agents and polishes you’ll use, read the label carefully. Find a product without any abrasive elements. For older cars and trucks there are products designed to help restore an aged surface – don’t be fooled, they aren’t magic and can’t guarantee you won’t need auto paint repair in the future.
- Use high-quality wax – adding wax adds another layer of protection, making it difficult for dirt, debris and chemicals to penetrate to the paint. There are four basic wax types:
- Wipe-on and Walk-away clear sealant
Paste wax is the traditional “best” choice and liquid formulas work well to prevent oxidization and help to restore fading paint to a more consistent luster. Spray-on wax is quicker to apply but hasn’t proven to be as protective and long-lasting as hand-applied options. A professional application of high-quality wax by trained technicians at an auto body shop before the winter driving season and again prior to summer’s heat and humidity is a worthwhile investment.
TIP FROM A PRO – Apply wax of any kind according to the manufacturer’s directions. Over-waxing causes a residue to build up and that, too, can affect the look of the vehicle’s finish.
Restoring the ‘Like New’ Finish
Fading and oxidation of your car’s paint is part of the aging process – it can be slowed, but it happens. With the proper techniques, equipment and products a faded paint job can be restored. The process requires attention to detail. Auto body shop detailing and painting specialists work together to create a “like new” result. The process includes:
- A professional, washing and drying to reveal any surface imperfections.
- Making sure the vehicle’s body is cool (products don’t work well in high temperatures) the body is inspected for scratches, dents or cracks in the paint. If there are no serious concerns, the surface is primed for polishing and waxing.
- Microfiber applicators are used to further protect the car’s finish, especially when aging is a factor.
These basic steps can restore an aging vehicle to a look that’s almost as good as new when the surface is in good condition. But, some finishes are too far gone – paint too badly faded, oxidized or damaged. In that case, auto paint repair may include touchup painting. For a truly “like new” look, a completely new paint job is in order.
If your option is a totally new paint job, keep in mind the key elements to keeping it fresh and protected from the elements. Maintain a consistent cleaning and waxing schedule and you’ll never have to do it again.
Professionals Bring Training, Tools to The Job
The rigors of sitting in the elements take their toll on a vehicle’s finish. When the time comes to seek professional help in restoring your ride with a finish it deserves, call Auto Color. Visit either of our two complete auto body shop locations in the Madison WI area – West on Parmenter Road in Middleton and East on Stoughton Road. These professionally-equipped shops serve all of Dane County including Verona, Waunakee, Fitchburg, Sauk City, McFarland, Middleton, Monona, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie and Deforest.
Call Auto Color Middleton at 608-831-9554 or Auto Color East Madison at 608-221-5041, or email us to put our veteran auto body shop team to work for showroom quality auto paint repair in Madison WI.